The identity of four alleged militants who the Army claimed it killed in a firefight in the Machil sector close to the LoC has generated a new controversy.
While the Army says it killed armed infiltrators, reports in Pak media suggested that four villagers were killed on July 30 after they were kidnapped by Indian troops while picking herbs in the thick forest along the LoC.
While defence spokesman N C Vij told The Indian Express that bodies and weapons recovered from the slain infiltrators were handed over to the police,the police said that only bodies were handed over along with a list of arms and not arms.
The list included a 12-bore gun,an unlikely militant weapon. Police sources told The Indian Express that among the slain,one is an elderly man who looked in his 60s while another is a teenager. The police have photographed the bodies and taken samples for DNA tests. They have also made enquiries in neighbouring villages to ensure that they are not locals.
It was on July 30 that the Army claimed to have killed these four saying that they were in a group of five or six heavily armed militants who had fired on troops.
In all,the Army said,19 militants had been killed in operations to prevent infiltration in Keran,Machil and Gurez. According to a Muzaffarabad report in the Express Tribune,a Pak paper,the four men killed in Machil were residents of Janwai village who were kidnapped after Indian troops crossed the Line of Control. The report identified the four villagers as Muhammad Zafran,Shahzaman,Wajid and Faisal Iqbal.
J&K DGP Ashok Prasad was not available for comment but he was quoted in a local newspaper in Srinagar as saying that the police can only investigate the killing of the four infiltrators if there are directions from the Home Ministry. We have taken notice of the incident and the case, he said.